A rise in the number of women diagnosed with pregnancy-related diabetes is predicted following new standards for determining unsafe blood sugar levels.
Researchers from the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in the US predicted that between two and three times more pregnant women will be treated for the condition in the coming years.
The upper limit of safe blood sugar levels for pregnant women were previously held at 92 when fasting, 180 one hour on from a glucose tolerant test and 153 two hours on.
However, these have now been reduced which could see more than 16 per cent of women being diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
Dr Boyd Metzger, lead researcher on the study, commented: "This study says these risks to pregnancy are like many things we deal with in medicine. The risk of having a stroke doesn't begin when your blood pressure is 140 over 80.
"That's when we say you have hypertension, but that's not where the risk begins to affect your health. That starts sooner," he explained.
Pregnant women could benefit from regular check-ups with their GP to ensure their pregnancy is progressing healthily.